England’s Conservative Party made significant gains in Thursday’s local elections, to the surprise of many prognosticators and Labour supporters.
Final results are still being tallied, but the Tories have already flipped numerous seats across 145 English Local Councils. Many of the gains came in working-class areas in the north of England, indicating what some are calling a realignment of workers away from the Labour Party.
One of the most shocking results was in Hartlepool, where Conservatives won a by-election (akin to a U.S. special election) for a Parliamentary seat held by Labour since its creation in 1974. Tory candidate Jill Mortimer increased the party’s vote share by 23% from 2019.
NEW: Boris in Hartlepool taking victory lap with new Tory MP Jill Mortimer. pic.twitter.com/NjuqmlIcYZ
— Tom Harwood (@tomhfh) May 7, 2021
Prime Minister Boris Johnson celebrated the early results Friday morning.
“I know that the results have been coming in since this morning and there’s clearly a lot more to go, and it’s early days, but it’s a very encouraging set of results so far,” the Conservative Party leader said.
Meanwhile, Labour continues to be marred by internal strife in its first election under the leadership of Sir Keir Starmer. Starmer won the party’s leadership election in 2020 following the resignation of previous leader Jeremy Corbyn, who led the party to historic losses in 2019.
Members of Labour leadership have blamed Corbyn for the party’s recent struggles. (RELATED: UK Joins America In Calling China’s Treatment Of Uyghurs A Genocide)
Keir Starmer has attempted to blame today’s election disaster on Jeremy Corbyn – but his leadership has hollowed out the party, refused to offer a vision for change and left many with little reason to vote Labour. https://t.co/ADLremPT2Y
— Tribune (@tribunemagazine) May 7, 2021
It is impossible to overstate the magnitude of the devastation and humiliation just suffered by the UK Labour Party in this week’s elections under the bland, dull and craven leadership of Sir Kier Starmer — and it’s 100% deserved.https://t.co/X7B813Qpzx
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) May 7, 2021
Thirteen mayoral elections were also held across England, in addition to 39 police and crime commissioner elections in England and Wales, and elections for the Scottish and Welsh parliaments and the London Assembly. London Mayor Sadiq Kahn is expected to safely win reelection despite Conservative opponent Shaun Bailey jumping out to a slight early lead Thursday night.